Wheee-hee-hee! Witches In The Air! – Announcing The Guidelines For The 11th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!

So, I know it’s Monday and I don’t usually post on Mondays.

But this is a special Monday.

A Monday I post on almost every year (except when I’m really behind schedule and end up on a random Thursday…😊)

And you know what I’m about to say, right?

Of course you do!

This isn’t your first trip around the blog! (See what I did there?)

I removed a section of this post because although it was intended to be in good fun it caused offense to some people, which was never my intention.

So, get ready for. . .

The 11th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!!!

~ for children’s writers ~

So! Are you ready?

THE CONTEST: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in word count) using the words glow-in-the-dark, goosebumps, and goodies.

  • Your story can be poetry or prose, scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words. Get it? Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 😊
  • You can go under the word count but not over!
  • Title is not included in the word count.
  • Also, being super clear for this year, glow-in-the-dark counts as 1 word (even though it looks like 4 😊)
  • You may use the words in any form i.e. glowed-in-the-dark, goosebumpley, goody (“Oh, goody!”, goody-two-shoes etc.), whathaveyou 😊
  • You are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 😊
  • No illustration notes please!

And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge! We got just shy of 300 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!

POST: your story in the comment section of the Official Contest Post between 12AM Eastern Friday October 29th (the day the official contest post will go up here) and Sunday October 31st at Midnight – the witching hour! (see, there are those witches again 😊)

  • For those of you who would also like to post on your blogs, please feel free to do so! You are welcome to include the link to your blog with your entry in the comment section of the Official Contest Post so that people can come visit your blog, but all entries must be posted in the comment section of the Official Contest Post between 12 AM Eastern Friday October 29th and Sunday October 31st at Midnight.
  • If you have difficulty posting your entry to the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you! [susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the top NO ATTACHMENTS! and please do not submit any entries before the official opening of the contest at 12AM Friday October 29th. They will not be accepted.
  • I know how hard you all work on your entries, and how anxious you are to get them posted, but please try to be a little patient if your entry doesn’t show up immediately. Many comments have to be manually approved, and it sometimes takes me a little while to post entries that come in by email. I promise I will get to everything as soon as I can. I try never to leave my desk during contests, but sometimes it’s unavoidable 😊

THE JUDGING: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my devoted assistants and I will read and re-read and narrow down the entries to a finalist field of about 12 which will be posted here for you to vote on I hope by Friday November 5th (though if the judging takes longer than expected it might be a little later – we will do our best!) The winner will be announced Monday November 8th (good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 😊)

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
  • 3. Use of all 3 required words and whether you came it at 100 words or less.
  • 4. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 😊  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 5. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 😊  Use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it, PROOFREADING!
  • 6. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.
  • 7. How well you followed the Submission Guidelines – agents and editors expect professionalism. This is a chance to practice making sure you read and follow specified guidelines. If you don’t follow agent and editor submission guidelines, they won’t even read your submission.

THE PRIZES: So amazing! What wonderful, generous people we have in our kidlit community! Just wait til you see what you can win! (This list is still under construction, so there may be changes…!) (And in the interest of getting this posted I’m merely listing the prizes tonight – I will add details ASAP!)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique by Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids, 2019), COUNTING ELEPHANTS (Running Press Kids, 2020), THE NIGHT BAAFORE EASTER (WorthyKids, 2021), THE NIGHT BAAFORE THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL (WorthyKids, 2021), and the brand new ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids, October 19, 2021)!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (nonrhyming) by Janie Reinart, author of WHEN WATER MAKES MUD: A STORY OF REFUGEE CHILDREN (Blue Whale Press, 2021)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (biography) by Lindsey McDivitt, author of NATURE’S FRIEND: THE GWEN FROSTIC STORY (Sleeping Bear Press, 2018), TRUTH AND HONOR: THE PRESIDENT FORD STORY (Sleeping Bear Press, 2020), and A PLAN FOR THE PEOPLE: NELSON MANDELA’S HOPE FOR HIS NATION (Eerdman’s Books For Young Readers, 2021)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or any) or First 10 Pages of a longer MS (winner’s choice) by Kenda Henthorn, author of the forthcoming BAA, BAA TAP SHEEP (Sleeping Bear Press, April 15, 2022)

Kenda works in the aviation industry now so it’s no surprise that her writing inspirations and aspirations are sky-high, too.  She resides in Oklahoma and when the winds aren’t sweepin’ down the plains, Kenda enjoys acting, flying, kayaking and riding horses or her motorcycle.  (Vroom-vroom!)She has served as a Regional Coordinator for the Oklahoma SCBWI and a Best in Rhyme Award committee member and judge.

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or lyrical) by Randi Sonenshine, author of THE NEST THAT WREN BUILT (Candlewick March 2020) and the forthcoming THE LODGE THAT BEAVER BUILT (Candlewick Fall 2022)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique by Danielle Dufayet, author of YOU ARE YOUR STRONG (Magination Press, March 2019) and FANTASTIC YOU (Magination Press, September 2019)

⭐️ Storyboard Notebook – a great way to draft your picture books!

⭐️ Personalized signed copy of ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS by Dawn Young

⭐️ Personalized signed copy of BRANCHES OF HOPE: The 9/11 Survivor Tree by Ann Magee

⭐️ Personalized signed copy of MIMIC MAKERS: Biomimicry Inventors Inspired by Nature by Kristen Nordstrom

⭐️ Personalized signed copy of A PLAN FOR THE PEOPLE: Nelson Mandela’s Hope for His Nation by Lindsey McDivitt

⭐️ Personalized signed copy of THE NEST THAT WREN BUILT by Randi Sonenshine

Please join me in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for birthday, holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, recommending them for school and library visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

Now!  Lay in a good chocolate supply (no better time than right before Halloween for THAT!)! Butt In Chair! Pencils, pens, or keyboards ready! Put on your pointy black thinking cap (you know, to get in that Halloween mood 🧙🏿‍♀️ 😊!)  And write those prize-winning stories!!!

I can’t wait to read them!!! 😊

47 thoughts on “Wheee-hee-hee! Witches In The Air! – Announcing The Guidelines For The 11th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest!

  1. Katie Schwartz says:

    Just reading through your introduction and information for the contest has me cackling in delight! (So punny and gets the Halloweensie juices flowing)! I may even skip my second cup of coffee since I can feel all my nerve endings firing as I write.
    Thank you Susanna, I can’t wait, I have a feeling this year is the year things will be totally unmasked (or undone, or super-fun, or something like that)! And as always – second-to-none!

  2. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    Reading and reading (and yes – we see what you did there), Mom was getting prepared to see the rules for a Chris Columbus writing contest. I was hoping he had a doggie on board the SM (see what I did there?), and I’d end up in the story. But doggies can glow, get goosebumps, and eat goodies, so I am hopeful that a doggie story is coming up.

    Love and licks,

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      I have been waiting for a million years for not just any doggie, but YOU, Cupcake, to end up in one of mom’s stories! You are right – Chris should totally have had a dog with him on the SM – the journey would have been much more fun! And what’s with the whole witches and cats thing? I feel convinced a dog would make an excellent familiar!

  3. eleanorannpeterson says:

    I’ve been waiting for this. I’m in! At first, I thought we’d have to write something quirky about St-Columbus that sailed the sea. Maybe carrying pumpkins onboard? You got me there. Thanks, Susanna.

  4. Beth Stilborn says:

    Donning my witchy hat (if I can find it under all the cobwebs) and getting my brain ready to brew up a batch of Halloweensie goodies… Will give this post a shoutout on my blog, forthwith. Fifthwith and sixthwith even.

  5. Pamela Harrison says:

    I have loved reading all of the amazing ‘Halloweensie” stories from previous years. I’m planning to write mine right away.
    Susanna, thank you for such a fun contest!

  6. viviankirkfield says:

    Hats off to you, dear Susanna…whether they be pointed and black for witches and wizards or ragged straw for a scarecrow! Another Halloweensie contest! I know so many writers who have been waiting excitedly for this! Looking forward to enjoying the wonderful entries!

  7. Mary Zychowicz says:

    Thanks Susanna! I always look forward to your contests and the rules and words! I don’t always make it in time to enter but I enjoy the challenge and I enjoy reading so many of the wonderful creative entries! 🙂

  8. Colleen Dougherty says:

    Thank you for providing us with so much fun! This is my third year and I can not wait to get started:)
    Thank you prize donors! Such great prizes!
    Have fun everyone:) I look forward to reading your stories!

  9. M.A. Cortez says:

    Woo-Hoo! I’ve grown to love the Halloweensie contest. Thank you so much for all the hard work you put in to bring it to us. I’m looking forward to reading as many of the entries as I can.

  10. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Oh, I have to see if I can squeeze in a wee Halloweensie….it’s always so much fun! And I know it’s so much work for you and your judging companions. I appreciate all you do to spread the spirit of kidlit far and wide!

  11. meagantgentry says:

    Hi! This will be my first year trying this out! Trying to let go of my fear of putting my kid-lit words in the universe, so this Halloweensie challenge is a good shove over the cliff! Excited to read the other entries.

  12. Becky Walker, M.Ed. (@BWalkerbooks) says:

    Becky Walker @bwalkerbooks
    100 words

    “May I speak to the Spooky Committee?” demanded Bunny.
    “What for, kiddo?” asked the chairman.
    “I want to be an official Halloween spooky animal…
    wolves, black cats, bats have all the fun!”
    “Hahaha! Cute, kid.”
    Bunny’s ears drooped.
    “But, it’s my dream.”
    “We’ll vote tonight.”
    Bunny’s ears perked up.
    First, glow-in-the-dark paint.
    Next, a prop. Wand? Taken. Broom? Taken.
    A-HA! Toilet plunger! Humans seem pretty scared of those.
    Goody! A cherry! CHOMP! BLOODY TEETH!
    Bunny hid and waited.
    He had one shot.
    BAM! Out jumped Bunny.
    “AAAAAHHHH!” screamed the chairman.
    “Goosebumps?” asked Bunny.
    “Approved. Now get that plunger outa here!”

  13. Bevin Rolfs Spencer says:

    Witch’s Woods
    By, Bevin Rolfs Spencer
    100 words

    To get through Witch’s Woods on Halloween night I brought:
    1. Glow-in-the-dark spiders to entertain the ogres.
    2. Goodies for the trolls under Grendel’s bridge: werewolf bones, metal parts and rocks.
    3. Goosebumps—my pet bat knew the way.
    4. A mirror–revealed him.
    5. Garlic–distracted him.
    6. An excuse: She found the book fair and square.
    7. My fighting cloak—he broke the deal.
    8. Scabbard. A sword fight ensued.
    9. My wits—never trust vampires.
    10. Witch’s Book of Spells–to trade for my sister. But we used a hex instead and escaped with the book.

  14. Marjorie-Ron Strid-David says:

    By Marjorie David
    “Ahoy, you maties! Raise your hooks! Let’s go plunder!”
    Three pirates charge into the night.
    “Steady as you go mates, thars bounty enough for all,” says one pirate.
    “Argh!” agree the other two.
    A caped figure with glow-in-the-dark jewelry and captain’s hat joins them.
    “Mind your steps, maties, we’ll stop wherever front lights shine.”
    “Your goodies or our tricks,” cry the pirates at every door.
    “Alas, our plundering is over. Retreat!”
    With heavy loot-bags, the pirates turn toward the caped figure, but….
    Only glow-in-the-darks, atop a folded cape and captain’s hat, remain.
    Goosebumps raise.
    The pirates yell, skedaddling.

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